In a major coup for Maker Studios and Fullscreen — the top two YouTube networks according to Comscore (they account for over 4 billion collective monthly views) — it was announced this afternoon that the two YouTube networks have reached an agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group that will give their creators immediate access to Universal Music’s entire catalog of music.
More importantly, the agreement allows Maker and Fullscreen artists, which include the likes of Bad Lip Reading, KassemG, Snoop Lion, Megan Nicole, Tyler Ward, Tiffany Alvord, Luke Conard and Sam Tsui, among many others, to share advertising revenues from their creators’ videos that include or cover songs from Universal Music’s catalog. You read that correctly: Maker and Fullscreen artists will now be able to monetize off of their musical cover videos of Universal songs. Universal Music’s catalog includes artists such as: Adele, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Coldplay, R. Kelly, Maroon 5, Miguel, Mumford & Sons, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, U2, Diane Warren, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
In a press release, Zach Horowitz, Chairman and CEO of UMPG said: “This is a groundbreaking arrangement that encourages the use of our music and unleashes Maker to reach its full potential. We’re delighted to have reached a market solution with Maker that properly pays our songwriters for the use of their work.”
In a statement to Billboard, CEO of Fullscreen George Strompolos said: “It hasn’t been easy for publishers to locate all those covers in order to begin monetizing them. Once publishers have found those covers and allowed ads to be placed against them, those videos have usually peaked. With us, publishers start monetizing covers from the very first view. They don’t have to be in reactionary mode of having to identify covers in the first place.”
In their official statement, COO of Maker Studios Courtney Holt said: “As a talent focused company we are always looking for ways to give Maker talent the broadest possible palette to create the most entertaining and engaging programming.This agreement allows Maker music artists and talent the ability to further grow their audiences, while also creating new revenue opportunities for UMPG’s songwriters.”
Popular musician AJ Rafael, who occasionally covers songs on YouTube, reacted to the news by telling NMR:
“I think it’s awesome that big companies like Universal are working with YouTube networks. My only concern is that some may limit their song choices to the songs that can make the money that aren’t theirs in the first place. Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure a lot of my cover are under UMG, but I’d hate to see everyone covering those songs just to make money. I’d hate to make a majority of my living off someone else’s writing, especially being a writer myself. But overall, I think it’s a good business move by both companies.”
YouTube singer and cover artist Luke Conard, who is signed to Fullscreen, told NMR in regard to the agreement:
“YouTube has been such an important part of my career, giving me the ability to connect directly with my fans around the globe to share my originals and covers. Fullscreen continues to be at the forefront, proving to not only work with those artists pioneering the music business, but to be pioneers themselves.”
This landmark agreement is an absolute game changer for all creators in the YouTube space and a testament to the growth and power of the new media industry. One of the most problematic issues that has faced YouTube artists has always been the retrieval of rights to play certain licensed music in their videos, and then the monetization of those cover song videos. This deal is an important breakthrough in solving that issue.
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